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How Jacques Pépin met his wife, Gloria


Gloria shares the story of how she met Jacques, pretending to be a novice and taking skiing lessons from him.

Major funding for Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft is provided by Feast it Forward.


Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation and public television viewers.


Well, I picked him up on the ski slope.

We were both skiing in the same ski area. I was ski patrol. He was in the ski school.

He had a nice bun. He had long sideburns and I wasn't sure whether he was straight or gay because he was so good-looking, but I said I'll give it a shot. And I booked a private lesson with him, even though I could ski better than he could, and all the way down on the mountain he was beating on my legs with the ski pole - 'bend your knees, knees into the hill.' He found so many things wrong with my skiing, so I never got to first base. So I had to take a second lesson.

And on our second date, he invited me to his apartment and he cooked dinner.

And it was wonderful, but it was all stuff from Howard Johnsons. I didn't know that he just reheated this beef bourguignon and then I finally found out who he was and what he did.

We had no money. Craig decided to do our wedding - all his chef friends cooked.

Well he was in the kitchen 20 minutes before we got married - they finally threw him out and said, 'hey you better get dressed, you know, you're getting married.'

This is my 'peoples wall.' All people important in my life. This is Jean-Claude for his wedding. This is Claudine when she was small. I put a chef's hat on her.

Her brother who was a baby. The growing family settled in upstate New York where Jacques' talent for carpentry, painting, and foraging transformed an abandoned house into a kind of rural utopia.

Jacques and Gloria had a marvelous life I mean they were mushroom hunting. Jacques was catching frogs at midnight in the pond. He was gardening, he was building stone walls, he was painting. From the rafters you have hams curing, fish were smoking.

It was almost a fantasy for the rest of us, but it was so natural because this is how he grew up. The key to Jacques is the fact that he's an immigrant - you come with a certain drive you come with a desire to make it - you come with a passion about America. You're also leaving behind something - there is a loss.

But more than anything else it brings a certain kind of determination that he's always had - a kind of fire in your belly that just doesn't go away.


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